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My 2012 Goal: To Embrace Ipukarea

Sometimes we go in search of our New Year’s goals. Sometimes they are gifted to us.

I will be one of the keynoters at the 2012 annual conference of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA). The conference is to be held in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

New Zealand

New Zealand

I am thrilled not only to be speaking at this conference and traveling to a country I’ve never seen, but also to use my best librarian skills to embrace the theme of the conference, which is: Ipukarea: Celebrate, Sustain, Transform.

(I borrowed and reworded the following language from the keynote invitation.)

Ipukarea (from the Māori language – Te Reo Māori) refers to the ancestral homeland, a significant water or land feature which relates to identity and source of livelihood. It is a place that represents New Zealand history and emotional attachment, a place to go to be rejuvenated, a place that represents the hopes and aspirations of the people and the life-giving waters from which they drink.

Within this broad theme there are the following strands:

Manawa: the heart of the community; library as place, physical and virtual

Returning home: holding to core values and principles in a time of change

Telling our stories: celebrating the great things happening in the libraries of New Zealand Aotearoa

Renewing the heart: experiences that refresh, revitalize and refocus

Transformation: embracing and shaping change, moving forward

These are all great themes for a library conference in 2012, and they also represent the strands of my best keynote presentations from the last fifteen years–as well as the renewal I am part of where I work now.

I adore how these themes are both forward-leaning and reflective, and fully positive. The tenor of these themes reminds me of the discussion about Appreciative Enquiry led by Maureen Sullivan at last summer’s LIAL. I am also reminded of the great team I work with–their ability to provide full-on librarianship  unblinkered, unbowed, relentlessly positive, full of good humor–an A-Team all around.

(Sidebar: It would really be all right if I never attended another keynote address where librarians were chided and mocked for their seemingly backward ways.)

I know almost nothing about New Zealand, which is rather convenient, as it means I have no misconceptions. (I do know three things: it is near Australia; there are over 40 varieties of kiwi fruit–not all indigenous to New Zealand; and some of the best hops come from the land of Ipukarea. I hope for on-ground research on the latter two topics.) So January will be devoted to building a bibliography of key readings on the history, geography, and current issues related to New Zealand. Suggestions greatly appreciated. I’m still mulling over the organizational tools I’ll use to manage my research.

One of my other goals for 2012 was to post more frequently. At first I thought “I’ll blog every day!” But then I had a reality check with myself… right, that’s not happening. However, I can establish a weekly deadline for posting where I am with my Ipukarea journey… and, consider that deadline established.

Posted on this day, other years:

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  1. Jeff Imparato wrote:

    Wow, such an honor to be invited to speak at such a mystical place. Earth-conscience people who love life, and their culture.

    Besides which, there are hobbits there.


    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink
  2. Chris wrote:

    Remember also the Maori tradition of living repositories of oral literature (if I understand the concept right)… I like the idea that the library IS the people!

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
  3. Brenda Chawner wrote:

    Karen, one good place to start would be Te Ara, the online Encyclopedia of New Zealand:

    I’ve heard you speak once before (at a LITA National Forum), and am looking forward to hearing your keynote in September!

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink
  4. Great news – for both you and LIANZA.

    Three things worth sharing …

    1) LIANZA is one of the best library conferences that I have been to- open, enquiring libraryfolk who have integrated go-ahead up-to-date practices with cultural pride, diversity and respect.

    2) LIANZA conferences have a wonderfully eclectic choice of local and international speakers who really burst out to the echo-chamber to bring new ideas that resonate together beautifully.

    3) New Zealanders will sing at the first welcome event. And when they appreciate what is happening. And to honour their guests. And to honour and respect the achievements of each other. And because the sky is blue. Be prepared for heartfelt singing and to maybe tear up a bit, even if you feel you may be cynically immune :)

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 1:06 am | Permalink
  5. Wendy Macaskill wrote:

    Hi Karen. We are so thrilled you are coming to our conference. It’s really great to see how well you have understood our theme. Yes – there will be singing and you will be shown the kindness you describe so well in today’s post. Cheers! Wendy (Conference committee)

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink
  6. Ruth Lewis wrote:

    They say the best history of NZ is The Penguin history of New Zealand / Michael King.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
  7. Joann Ransom wrote:

    Fabulous news that you are coming down under. Will have to come to LIANZA now :)

    Cheers Jo.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
  8. Hi Karen,

    I’m very excited that you are coming to Palmerston North and hope we have an opportunity to show you around Palmerston North City Library.

    I am following your Ipukarea journey and will be sharing your blogposts on the LIANZA 2012 Facebook page.

    Joanne (aka the Free Range Chook)

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
  9. Chook? I already love this journey–so many amazing words!

    Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. Free Range Librarian › Celebrating Sanctuary on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

    [...] never really been about the book as artifact, but about the ancestral homeland the book represents, the accumulated wisdom and history that like Ipukarea adds up to far more than its literal self. The book is host and wine for the intellectual transubstantiation that for thousands of years has [...]

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